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Woman, 39, was imprisoned for 21 weeks after coughing at a police officer

This is the shocking moment when a woman coughs on a police officer who was investigating a knife attack.

Charlene Merrifield, 39, was arrested by officers in South Tyneside after she reported that a woman attacked a man with a knife and damaged a car.

When Merrifield, with no permanent residence, was interrogated, he responded with a cough in their direction.

Charlene Merrifield, 39, depicted in the back of a Northumbria police van coughing at an officer who arrested her on suspicion of illness in Hebburn, South Tyneside

Charlene Merrifield, 39, depicted in the back of a Northumbria police van coughing at an officer who arrested her on suspicion of illness in Hebburn, South Tyneside

Police saw Merryfield, pictured, with two stones in hand after receiving reports of a knife knife threatening a man and damaging a car

Police saw Merryfield, pictured, with two stones in hand after receiving reports of a knife knife threatening a man and damaging a car

Police saw Merryfield, pictured, with two stones in hand after receiving reports of a knife knife threatening a man and damaging a car

Merrifield was warned against officer coughing during the exchange filmed on PC bodycam

Merrifield was warned against officer coughing during the exchange filmed on PC bodycam

Merrifield was warned against officer coughing during the exchange filmed on PC bodycam

When warned that she was going to prison for coughing at the police, she repeated her action, which was captured on the officer’s bodycam.

In the shocking footage, Merrifield, 39, is heard asking the officer, “Why am I being arrested?”

He replies, “Because there has been an accusation that you (a man) entered with a knife and also damaged his car.

“Apart from that, when I came around the corner, you were out on the street and absolutely crazy with two stones in your hand.

“That’s an affair in itself, that’s why you’re being arrested.”

Merrifield then climbs into the back of the police van to repeatedly cough at the officer.

After the Hebburn incident on the evening of April 8, she has now been in prison for more than four months.

Superintendent Nicola Wearing added, “Our officers come to work every day to protect people and protect the communities they serve. They know they can face potentially dangerous situations.

“But at a time when our communities in Northumbria are working together and show the incredible spirit that this region is famous for, a small minority remains that shows total disregard for both the law and the well-being of others.

Charlene Merrifield knew exactly what she was doing when she decided to intentionally cough with one of our agents, which is absolutely awful.

Merrifield, pictured, was jailed for a total of 21 months following the admission of a rescuer, criminal damage, and a breach of public policy

Merrifield, pictured, was jailed for a total of 21 months following the admission of a rescuer, criminal damage, and a breach of public policy

Merrifield, pictured, was jailed for a total of 21 months following the admission of a rescuer, criminal damage, and a breach of public policy

“I hope this case shows how serious such crimes are being taken in light of the current pandemic.

“I would like to thank the public for their tremendous support, as well as our officers, associates and volunteers who all work together in these difficult and unprecedented times to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.”

Agents were called to the scene on Lyon Street after Merrifield attempted to attack a man with a knife and cause damage to vehicles.

Police found Merrifield, who had two stones in her hand, nearby.

However, when she was searched by officers, she turned out not to have a knife.

They also discovered that a Ford Focus car was damaged on the street after a windshield wiper broke off.

A corps spokesman said Merrifield was arrested on suspicion of an affair, and while she was being held she leaned in the back of the police van and coughed at a PC.

Merrifield, with no permanent residence, acknowledged the assault of a rescuer, criminal harm, and a violation of public policy when he appeared before the magistrates in South Tyneside, along with a suspended sentence.

She was then imprisoned for 21 weeks.

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